What to look forward to: There aren’t many reasons to play games on a Mac, and one of them is the relatively high resolution of Apple’s Retina displays. This usually requires a powerful GPU, but Apple is following in the footsteps of AMD, Nvidia and Intel with its own scaling technology that will supposedly make gaming on Apple Silicon Macs enjoyable.
Over the past few years, Apple has focused almost exclusively on its users’ mobile gaming. Hyper casual games prosper on iOS, which is why the company created apple arcadea subscription service that removes the manipulative monetization systems present in many mobile games.
Meanwhile, the Cupertino giant has been working on custom silicon for its Macs to bring them more in line with the iPhone and iPad. All Macs today, with the exception of the Mac Pro, run on M-series chipsets, and some of them are rather integrated. powerful GPUs competing with Nvidia and AMD. This gave Apple the opportunity to attract game developers, although the company is not yet doing everything possible.
This week during the WWDC keynote, Jeremy Sandmel, Senior Director of GPU Software at Apple, announced major update to the Metal API. Macs tend to be performance-focused, but Metal 3 will supposedly boost Apple Silicon Mac gaming performance to the point where people might start taking them more seriously for that use case.
Apple hopes to achieve this with what it calls MetalFX Upscaling, which is similar to Nvidia’s DLSS, AMD’s FSR 2.0, and Intel’s XeSS. The company didn’t provide many details about its implementation, but Sandmel noted that it uses temporal data from frames rendered at lower resolutions, as well as temporal smoothing to create an enlarged image.
In addition, Apple has developed an API for quickly loading resources, which is very similar to DirectStorage and this own incarnations. Game developers will be able to use this new software environment to download large game assets directly from storage to the GPU, which will speed up game loading and enable the creation of larger worlds.
For those of you who want to see these technologies in action, you won’t have to wait long. Apple says native Mac ports for GRID Legends, No Man’s Sky, and Resident Evil Village will arrive later this year. No Man’s Sky will also run on iPad Air and iPad Pro models equipped with M1 chipsets.
In terms of performance, Capcom’s head of technical research Maseru Ijuin says Mac Studio can run Resident Evil Village at 4K resolution using the Prioritize Graphics preset. Even a MacBook Air should “effortlessly” run it at 1080p, but we’ll have to wait and see what that means in terms of frame rates.
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